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Martin Waddell is the Hans Christian Andersen Medal winner 2004 and two-time Smarties Prize winner. Among his many books for children are the Little Bear and Farmer Duck series. Martin lives in Newcastle in County Down.
It's a cold winter's night, and Kind Ox is nesting, all snug in his stable out of the bitter wind, when a visitor comes along. Old Dog. Kind Ox invites Old Dog into the stable where he will be protected from the harm of the storm, and soon more animals have joined the two of them. Stray Cat, and Small Mouse, to be exact. Then Tired Donkey comes along, carrying a woman, Mary, on his back, and a man, Joseph, at his side. Mary is weary, for she is about to have her baby, but there is no room at the inn, so Joseph is worried. But Kind Ox invites them in, and provides shelter for Mary as she gives birth to the baby Jesus, a group of animals around them.
ROOM FOR A LITTLE ONE is a lovely picture book that will paint a simple picture of how Jesus came to be for young children. The prose is extremely easy to understand for all ages, and the illustrations, depicting scenes of animals in the snow, and inside the warmth of the stable, will capture the hearts of parents, as well as their children. A wonderful holiday tale.
Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
About two thousand years ago, in the town of Nazareth, a miracle occurred. There were Shepherds, the Angels and, on Epiphany, the Wise Men.
In author Martin Waddell's version: This particular winter night is cold, and Kind Ox lies in his stable sheltered from the harsh bitter airs. He is snuggled in the warmth of his straw bed until Old Dog comes along in search of shelter and a warm place to rest his weary bones. Kind Ox invites him in. Not long after do more travelers arrive, also in need of shelter. Stray Cat, and Small Mouse, to be precise.
Then Tired Donkey arrives, leading Joseph along, as he carries Mary on his back. Mary is very tired and needed a place to stay. At each inn, the story was the same. There was no room for them.
"Where will my baby be born?" Mary asked.
Kind Ox invited Tired Donkey in. Mary gives birth to Jesus with the animals around them.
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale, is not only simply written and easy to understand, but is also exquisitely illustrated. This is a book your child will read everyday of the year!
My 11 year old son, brought this home from the book fair at his school today. He was very proud to show me his purchase. We have already read it together with little brother 3 times now!
Jason Cockcroft is an amazing illustrator. His pictures are beautiful and peaceful, while detailed.
Room for a little one, is not long, but has such a beautiful message. It ends with "...a Little One came for the world."
This book is perfect for a bedtime story, or to be read on Christmas Eve, or morning. Our family highly recommends this book. We would give it a 6 if we could. It will be within reach all year long, not just at Christmas time.
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Four years ago at my first Book Fair, as a new children's librarian, I came across this very heart-warming book, "Room for a Little One," which epitomizes the deepest meaning of Christmas.
Please allow me to read this book to you. Please sit and get comfortable. It's cold outside. Kick off your shoes, tuck in your feet. Here, I'll share my throw with you. Hot chocolate? Good.
See, it's an over-sized book, with each page full to the brim with subdued color. No white margins. This is a full story. Martin Waddell and Jason Cockcroft use every inch to tell their version of the manger story.
"It was a cold winter's night. Kind Ox lay in his stable, close to the side of the inn." There in the doorway appears a dog, backlighted with the glow of dusk.
"Old Dog came by. He stopped and looked into the stable. 'I need somewhere to rest,' said Old Dog. 'Come inside,' Kind Ox said. 'There's always room for a little one here.'"
Kind Ox, a pure white beast, is the gracious host, the one who does not turn away those in need. His actions, of course, parallel his owner. Artist Cockcroft paints the most dead-tired look in that dog's eyes, so reflective of almost unbearable weariness, perhaps reflective of the burden of sin we would like to set down.
When Stray Cat comes by, Old Dog promises not to chase her. Then in her turn Stray Cat promises not to harm Small Mouse. (Please note the use of particular adjectives for each critter, sobriquets for the types of humans in the world, types of burdens described so often in the Jesus stories, burdens which can be put down.) So they all sleep contentedly until the famous couple and their donkey come by. Kind Ox invites Tired Donkey in.
Often we forget that the innkeeper who allowed Mary and Joseph to use his stable did so from kindness, not from dismissal, or meanness as is sometimes depicted. Both the innkeeper and his ox, Kind Ox, give all that they have to give in that moment, just the warmth of a humble stable. As the ox rests in his stable one cold winter night, one by one he sees a stray animal weary with cold, and Kind Ox (The Holy Spirit) invites them to spend the night in his shelter, where there is no fear, only warmth, peace and love. The night wears on and eventually the tired donkey carrying Mary comes to the stable and is entreated to come inside, since "There's always room for a little one here."
This beautiful book reminds us that Our Lord works miracles through even the humblest, as Kind Ox displays the great love of the Holy Spirit, a love that is a foretaste of Heaven. The illustrations have that golden glow and hazy dreamlike quality that give the art a timeless feeling. A retelling of the Christmas story that both a little one and an adult will enjoy and ponder upon.
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